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SCOTUS to decide if WA’s Referendum 71 signatories to be made public

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2010

Although the voters in the state of Washington have long since elected to reaffirm the legislature’s decision to provide Domestic Partner benefits equal to marriage to same-sex couples, the issue over whether the signatories are public information is still unresolved. On Friday the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the issue. (LA Times)

The high court will consider whether Washington state officials can release more than 138,500 names on a petition seeking a vote on overturning the state’s domestic partnership rights.

Protect Marriage Washington, which unsuccessfully opposed the law giving gay couples expanded rights, wants to shield from disclosure the signers of the petition for a referendum on that law. The group says it fears harassment by gay rights supporters, some of whom have vowed to post signers’ names on the Internet.

The objection to making the names public is based on the often asserted but rarely supported reports of “threats”, “intimidation”, and “retaliation”.

In case you don’t speak the lingo of anti-gay activists, “retaliation” is when gay customers find out that the profits from their purchases are being used to take away their rights and freedoms and refuse to continue to patronize the business establishments that harm them. “Intimidation” is when gay citizens, their friends, and their families discover that their neighbors want to harm them and consequently snub, shun, or speak disparagingly to those who are actively trying to harm their lives.

“Threats” tend not to exist at all outside of vague and highly improbable internet venting or solely in the fevered imagination of those who want to see themselves as victims.

Anti-gays genuinely believe that gay people should be barred from knowing who seeks to do them harm and, if they should find out, are not entitled to object.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

And you know? it might just happen that 5 of the judges might buy into their bull and give them special rights.

Joe in California
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

Public disclosure of signatories should have been from the very beginning.

I should be able to know if The Gas Company or The Power Company are supporters of gay rights. Then I should have the right to have my gas turned off and use candles!
Perhaps women should never have gotten the right to vote through the legislative process either. Nor interracial couples the right to marry through the legislative process. It should have been mob rule! Referendums are mob rules and give rights to only some of the people and not ALL THE PEOPLE… Remember, it reads “WE THE PEOPLE”…..
WTFWJD
We need to separate church & state!

Sparky
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

Having a belief that you truly believe in, you would be proud for everybody to know about, and would have no shame in letting others know. Just ask John Hancock, whom wrote his name in huge letters on the Declaration of Independence.

The Founding Fathers that so many revere and invoke without much thought, were said to be traitors to England, and were to be killed on sight.

Many of them were financially ruined, and unable to return home because of their opposition to England. (Luckily, their families were spared, something that I do not believe would happen under todays US anti-terror laws)

So tell me again, why is it that people that are against Gay Marriage are doing everything they can to hide their names from public view?

Burr
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

How can we be sure that “Mickey Mouse” didn’t sign the petition a few thousand times if we don’t see the list of names on what SHOULD be a public document?

If the names are illegally kept private, then it’s clear the only recourse for the next petition drive for hate is to send people with cameras to photograph everyone who signs and crowdsource their identification. Or take an image of the documents themselves wherever signatures are collected.

Rob Lll
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

Totally agree, Burr. I would add that this case has potentially huge implications that go way beyond LGBT issues. Anyone who cares about transparency in politics should be concerned about the possibility of initiatives going on the ballot without a public record of voter signatures. The potential for fraud and manipulation is truly scary.

Lynn David
January 17th, 2010 | LINK

I’m surprised they’d let a man into the country who wanted to revoke a class of people’s first amendment right to free speech.

Lynn David
January 17th, 2010 | LINK

Whoops…. thought sure I was on the Bahati/NPB thread…

homer
January 17th, 2010 | LINK

First it will be the petitions, and then we won’t be allowed to know who contributed to campaigns, and then who knows what. It would not be that difficult for the political party who controls the Secretary of State’s office to submit fraudulent petitions. How would anyone ever know?

Scott P.
January 17th, 2010 | LINK

Gee, homer, that’s so cynical. Something like that would never happen in say, Florida, would it????

Neon Genesis
January 18th, 2010 | LINK

Doesn’t the bible tell Christians that they should not be ashamed of the gospel? If these homophobic Christians believe that the gospel promotes homophobia, then if they truly believe in the bible, why are they ashamed of it?

Paul
January 18th, 2010 | LINK

Neon… because they are exactly that, hypocrites.

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